Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Get To Know... Bradley Cooper

Photo Courtesy Black Cloud Wines
Bradley Cooper
Vintner, Township 7 Vineyard and Winery,  Black Cloud Wines
Naramata Bench, BC

To BC wine connoisseurs, the other Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) is "the other" Bradley Cooper, ours is the original and that's 'original' with a capital 'O'! An early pioneer of engaging consumer via social media (@Bradinator), Cooper transfers his quick wit charm and off-beat humour to 140 character tweets easily and is a regular participant in the weekly #BCWineChat discussion on Twitter. 

As winemaker and chief bon vivant at Township 7 Vineyard and Winery he has helped raise the profile and quality of the wines of the longstanding Naramata Bench winery (which also operates a Fraser Valley vineyard and tasting room). The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and Township 7 wines have gotten better and more acclaim in recent years.

Cooper also runs a Pinot Noir-only side project called Black Cloud which is slowly developing a loyal following amongst BC's Pinot lovers. The micro-winery only produces two wines, a lighter, Spring released Pinot for early consumption called Fleuvage and a cellar-worthy Pinot released each Fall called Altostratus. Both can be found at private wine shops with a little hunting.

Get to know Bradley a bit better and get to know both his Township 7 and Black Cloud wines...

Key wines to try:
Township 7 Sauvignon Blanc
Township 7 Merlot
Black Cloud Altostratus Pinot Noir

1. What do you enjoy most about making wine?
Everytime I start making a wine, a journey begins. Parts of that journey are familiar, but none of those journeys are the same. The ever-changing dynamic of wine making offers challenge and inspiration at every step.

2. What inspired you to become a winemaker?
I fell into wine making haphazardly from a consumer perspective to a production professional. I enjoyed the physical robustness of the work and having a hodgepodge of skill set developments take place. Farmer sometimes, technician sometimes, food manufacturerer sometimes, salesman, sometimes. The hats, they are many.

3. What causes you the most stress during harvest?
Stress is a direct result of expectations not being met. Some of those shortfalls are human generated, some are naturally occurring. The trick is to mitigate where you can to reduce the potential for stress. As an example: a highly-skilled crush crew can balance other shortfalls in production like poor weather or sub-standard fruit quality.
4. What is your favourite and/or least favourite wine cliché?
Favourite: It takes a lot of beer to make good wine.
Least favourite: Any cliche using the word "soul" to describe wine.

5. Away from the cellar and vineyard, what’s your greatest passion in life?
If I have to use the overused word 'passion', I would have to say that living is my passion.

6. After a long day of work in the cellar, what do you turn to for refreshment?
Beer. Preferably a craft-brewed IPA like Lighthouse's Switchback

7. If you could take credit for one other BC wine on the market today, which would it be and why?
Stomeboat's Piano Brut. I like charmat, I like the flavour profile and I like what Alison Moyes is doing in the cellar.

8. Of the wines in your portfolio, do you have a favourite food pairing to go with one of the wines?
2009 Black Cloud Altostratus Pinot Noir with roast rack of lamb, lightly seasoned. No mint jelly, please.

9. What do you think will be the next big trend in BC wine over the next few years?
I'm hoping for less pretension and more grounded value. I'd like to see the emergence of genuine negociant style winemaking and marketing. It may be the only way to crack the export market.

10. Screwcap or cork? What’s your preference?
Few things bore me to tears faster than a discussion about the merits and drawbacks of bottle closures. Apples and oranges. As a consumer, I see the value in both. I really can't begin to worry about how the bottle is sealed, unless it is patently flawed.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2013

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